Praseo pronouns

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The most prototypical pronouns in Praseo are the object pronoun clitics, which are used to express pronouns in the accusative and genitive cases. All of the other cases of the pronouns, including the nominative, are derived from these clitics.

  1. Object pronoun clitics

The accusative, genitive, and the objects of some pronouns are expressed by a similar set of enclitics.

Person Singular Plural

--------- -------

1st oa (o)i 2nd masc śa śi 2nd fem śe śa 3rd masc la li 3rd fem le la 3rd inan tsu tsi

These enclitics always attach to the end of the word preceding them, as the following sections will show.

    1. Accusative

For accusative pronouns, the enclitic is attached to the verb, as the following form illustrates:

    • urya** to hit, to strike

Meaning Form


(He) hit me uryaoa (He) hit you (msg) uryaśa (He) hit you (fsg) uryaśe (He) hit him uryala (He) hit her uryale (He) hit it uryatsu (He) hit us uryei (He) hit you (mpl) uryaśi (He) hit you (fpl) uryaśa (He) hit them (m) uryali (He) hit them (f) uryala (He) hit them (inan) uryatsi

One irregularity in this paradigm is to be noted for the 1pl ending *-i*. When this enclitic is attached to a word ending in *-a*, the resulting diphthong is *-ei* rather than *-ai*. Thus, the form for "He hit us" is *uryei* rather than *uryai*.

    1. Genitive

For genitive pronouns, the enclitics are attached to the possessum, which must be in the construct case:

    • razu** "head", construct **razí**

Meaning Form


My head razioa Your (msg) head raziśa Your (fsg) head raziśe His head razila Her head razile Its head razitsu

Note that the acute accent from the construct form *razí* is not preserved when the pronominal enclitic is added, because when the enclitic is added the stress falls on the regular penultimate syllable. (This is purely an orthographic alternation.)

The plural of nouns which have a pronominal enclitic on them is formed by the enclitic

  • -ra*, which *follows* the pronominal enclitic:

Meaning Form


Our heads razioira Your (mpl) heads raziśira Your (fpl) heads raziśara Their (m) heads razilira Their (f) heads razilara Their (inan) heads razitsira

Here we not a second irregularity regarding the 1pl clitic: when attached to a word which ends in a vowel other than *-a*, the ending is *-oi* rather than simply *-i*.

The preceding table presents the plural pronominal clitics together with the plural pronominal *-ra*, but of course these do not have to occur together. It's possible to say "his brothers" *endeilara* (singular pronominal clitic *-la* with plural clitic *-ra*), and "their mother" *mameili* (plural pronominal clitic *-li* without plural).

    1. Object of preposition

Prepositions in Praseo tend to govern either the dative or accusative case when their objects are nouns. However, pronouns which are objects of prepositions are expressed by the clitic attaching directly to the preposition, regardless of which case the preposition would normally govern.

Meaning Preposition Proposition with pronoun

----------- ----------------------
  • in* da dali "with them"
  • under* ji jitsu "under it"
  • with* ela elei "with us" (from *ela* + *i*)
  1. Nominative pronouns

Strictly speaking, there are no third-person subject pronouns as such in Praseo. Instead, there are two sets of demonstratives, distinguished by nearness, broadly equivalent to English "this" and "that". The pronouns are formed from the prefixes *ni-* for "this" and

  • na-* for "that", combined with common pronominal suffixes.
    1. Proximal demonstratives

The proximal demonstratives are equivalent to "this one," referring to an object which is near in time, space, or discourse. They distinguish masculine animates, feminine animates, and inanimates in singular and plural. All of the proximal demonstratives begin with the prefix *ni-*, which means "this."

Gender Singular Plural

--------- -------
  • masc* nila nili
  • fem* nile nila
  • inan* nitsu nitsi
    1. Distal demonstratives

The distal demonstratives are equivalent to "that one", referring to an object which is distant in time, space, or discourse. The distal demonstratives have the same numbers and genders as the proximal demonstratives.

Gender Singular Plural

--------- -------
  • masc* nala nali
  • fem* nale nala
  • inan* natsu natsi

There are also variants of these forms which lack the initial *n-*, eg. *ala* "that one (". The forms with and without the initial *n-* are used in free variation in the dialect of Prasa, but the forms without *n-* are strongly preferred in the upriver dialects.

    1. First and second person nominative pronouns

The first and second person subject pronouns are formed of compounds between the demonstrative prefixes and pronominal suffixes, similar to the third person demonstratives. However, there is no distinction between proximal and distal in the first and second persons, and there are additional considerations of rank and politeness which affect the choice of pronouns. Second person pronouns are distinguished by gender, but first person pronouns are not.

      1. Speech between equals

When social equals address each other, they used the following pronouns:

Person Singular Plural

--------- -------
  • 1* nioa ai
  • 2masc* niśa aśi
  • 2fem* niśe aśa

These forms are considered the unmarked forms, and are used in all social situations where differences of rank do not need to be observed. This includes speech between people of similar ages, and interactions between the leaders of *enna* regardless of their age.

      1. Speech between unequals

When there is a distinction of rank that must be observed, then the first and second person pronouns are *reversed* in the singular---that is, the first person singular pronoun from the chart above is used as the second person pronoun, and vice versa. In this scenario the gender of the first person pronoun is qualified by the gender of the interlocutor. The plural pronouns are unchanged. The following chart illustrates this (perhaps redundantly):

Person Singular Plural

--------- -------
  • 1* (masc. interlocutor) niśa ai
  • 1* (fem. interlocutor) niśe ai
  • 1* (mpl. interlocutor) niśi ai
  • 1* (fpl. interlocutor) niśa ai
  • 2masc* nioa aśi
  • 2fem* nioa aśa

The rationale for this has to do with the cultural use of honorifics and "social ownership". The word *nioa* literally means "this one of mine," but the significance of this possession varies according to the social situation. In a conversation between equals, a speaker presents himself as self-owned and self-referential, without any relationship of ownership or deference to the other speakers. Thus the word *nioa*, "this one of mine," can be used to refer to the self, and *niśa*, literally "this one of yours," refers to the interlocutor.

However, in a conversation between unequals, both parties will refer to the other with an honorific which indicates their relationship. These honorifics typically are suffixed with a possessive pronoun. The following short dialog will illustrate:

   Ezeioa         pazetsyaśoa  ka?
   Grandmother-my call-PERF-me QUESTION?
    • Child:** *My grandmother, did you call for me?*
   Bandeioa      kuyaśu?
   Grandchild-my where-is-PERF?
    • Elder:** *My grandchild, where were you?*
   Niśe       satsú     yaśu.
   This-yours beach-LOC is-PERF.
    • Child:** *I was at the beach.*
   Niśa       mantsya ma   nioa    patsu     zitsyatsu.
   This-yours needs   that this-my something carry-it.
    • Elder:** *I need you to carry something for me.*

Note, first off, that the child begins by addressing the elder with the honorific *ezeioa*, "my grandmother," and that the elder in turn begins by addressing the child as *bandeioa*, "my grandchild." The use of these ranked terms establishes the relative position of the speakers. In the second round of the dialogue, the child refers to himself with the pronoun

  • niśe*, "this yours", which is contextually understood to be an abbreviation of
  • nibandeiśe*, "this grandchild of yours". (Note, too, that though the child is male he uses

the form *niśe*, with the feminine possessive ending *-śe* because he is addressing a female elder and allowing himself to be "socially owned" by the elder.) The grandmother, in like fashion, refers to herself as *niśa*, literally "this yours (", understood as an abbreviation of "this grandmother of yours"; and she addresses her grandson with *nioa* "this mine."

This reversal of first and second person pronouns only occurs in the singular. The first-person plural pronoun *ai* is used in conversations between unequals without change, except for one wrinkle: the plural *ai* cannot be used with the clusive meaning "me and you" or "we and you" when the speaker and the person addressed are of unequal rank. In cases of unequal rank, the meaning "me and you" must be conveyed by *niśa ta nioa*, with an explicit conjunction, and "we and you" must be *ai ta nioa* or similar.

  1. Instrumental pronouns

The instrumental pronouns are formed by the prefix *či-* combined with the pronominal clitics, with some minor irregularities. (The element *či-* ultimately derives from the word

  • čiha* "hand").

Person Singular Plural

--------- -------
  • 1* čioa čei
  • 2masc* tiśa tiśi
  • 2fem* tiśe tiśa
  • 3masc* čila čili
  • 3fem* čile čila
  • 3inan* titsu titsi

In the second person, the element *či-* becomes *ti-*. This is not a morphological irregularity *per se*, but rather an example of [[Praseo phonology#Coronal place assimilation|coronal place assimilation]] which is reflected in the orthography because the second-person forms themselves are invariant. Also note that the first person plural has a quasi-irregular change of vowel.

It would be very rare to use an animate object as an instrument in the strict sense, but the passive construction requires the instrumental case, which is the major circumstance in which instrumental pronouns occur.

  1. Dative pronouns

The dative pronouns are formed by the prefix *ta-* combined with the pronominal clitics, with some minor irregularities. (The element *ta-* ultimately derives from the word

  • talya* "give").

Person Singular Plural

--------- -------
  • 1* taoa tei
  • 2masc* taśa taśi
  • 2fem* taśe taśa
  • 3masc* tala tali
  • 3fem* tale tala
  • 3inan* tatsu tatsi